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Sunday, July 5


“He restores my soul.”
Ps 23:3 NKJV

PRACTICE SOUL CARE

David said, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul” (vv. 1-3 NKJV). Today car engines are computerized. A light on your dashboard will let you know something’s wrong and that it’s time for a checkup. Your soul will do that too. But you’ve got to pay attention to the signals! Don’t wait until you have a spiritual, moral, emotional, or relational breakdown before you stop and pay attention. When your soul’s thirst is not quenched and its needs are not met, it will seek relief some other way, often a way that will hurt you. You must know when to say “when.” Most of us don’t take breaks that enable us to “restore our souls.” We’re ensnared by guilt, as if stopping would somehow be irresponsible. Or we fear losing ground because we took a minute for ourselves. One of the hardest things in life to achieve is not success, but a sense of balance. So in all your goal-setting and “go-getting,” don’t forget your soul. Even God rested (See Ge 2:2). And if He did, then you need to also. The power of rest is that it allows you to enjoy the journey of life and not just the destination. Indeed, if you don’t learn to walk in the park by choice, you may end up in the hospital by necessity. When God “makes you lie down in green pastures,” enjoy them. When He “leads you beside the still waters,” it’s to refresh and restore you. So practice soul care!

Monday, July 6

“If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.”
Mt 5:39 NLT

TURN THE OTHER CHEEK

There are two ways you can respond to negative criticism. If there’s truth in it, humbly accept it and grow through it. If not, practice what Jesus taught: “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say…If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also” (vv. 38-39 NLT). Sometimes a person’s criticism may actually have nothing to do with you at all; they simply feel cheated by life. And rather than take control of their heart’s dreams, they go around trying to squelch other people’s dreams in an attempt to drag them down to their own level of despair. And while it’s tempting to want to retaliate and point out their weaknesses and failures, that’s not the example Jesus set for you. Nor is it the high road you are called to take. “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone” (Ro 12:17-18 NLT). What does it mean to turn the other cheek? It means don’t let your critics get under your skin. Simply listen to them, thank them, and take their criticism with a grain of salt. Save your time and energy for those you trust, those who love you enough to tell you the truth even when it hurts. Someone has said, “You owe nothing to a critic!” Actually, you do. Jesus said, “Pray for those who persecute you!” (Mt 5:44 NLT).